Select train services resume from today

Nearly two months after it suspended operations of passenger trains over the coronavirus crisis, the Railways will resume the services with 15 pairs of trains on select routes from Tuesday.

The national transporter issued specific guidelines to passengers travelling on these trains which included asking them to carry their own food, linen, besides making it mandatory to wear masks.

Initially, the Railways announced booking of tickets on the IRCTC website on Monday from 4 pm, but the website did not respond due to huge traffic of prospective passengers.

The services of the portal resumed around 6 pm.

Though the Railways had suspended passenger services, it operated over 400 trains from May 1 to May 11 to ferry lakhs of migrant workers following requests from several governments.

A top official clarified that the trains ferrying migrants were operated following specific requests by state governments and it was not part of Railways’ normal passenger service.

While wearing masks has been made mandatory, passengers will also have to download the ArogyaSetu app on their phone. They will be compulsorily screened at the station and are being encouraged to carry their own blankets, water and food.

The zones will be guided by standard social distancing guidelines on stations and trains and observe the safety, security and hygiene protocols.

For now, the Railways has issued time table for trains between May 12 and May 20. They will run as daily, weekly or bi-weekly trains, as per the time table issued by the Railways. There are no trains on May 16 and May 19. 

These trains will run between New Delhi and all major cities across the country: Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.

On May 12, three trains will begin from New Delhi terminating at Dibrugarh, Bengaluru and Bilaspur. One each will begin from Howrah, Rajendra Nagar (Patna), Bengaluru, Mumbai Central and Ahemedabad, all terminating at Delhi.

On May 13, nine trains will be operated — eight of them starting from New Delhi and terminating at Howrah, Rajendra Nagar (Patna), Jammu Tawi, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Ranchi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The ninth is a special train from Bhubaneswar to New Delhi.

The railways will run five trains on May 14 from Dibrugarh, Jammu Tawi, Bilaspur and Ranchi to the national capital and one from New Delhi to Bhubaneswar.

Three trains are scheduled on May 15, two of them from Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai Central and one from New Delhi to Madgaon.

On May 17, when the current lockdown is slated to end, a train is scheduled from Madgaon  to New Delhi and one from New Delhi to Secunderabad.

The sole run from May 18 is a train from Agartala to New Delhi while two trains are scheduled on May 20 — New Delhi to Agartala and Secunderabad to New Delhi.   

These special trains will have only AC classesi.E. First, second and third AC and the fares will be equivalent to Rajdhani trains.

The Railways has decided to begin select services so that at least the working class can be transported to their destinations.

Passengers can book ticket in these trains up to seven days in advance. No RAC and wait list ticket is allowed. Also, on board booking by ticket checking staff will not be permitted.

On arrival at their destination, the passengers will have to adhere to the health protocols prescribed by the destination state, the Railways said.

Pre-packed snacks and biscuits will be available with the onboard catering staff, they will be sold to passengers who need them, just like the airlines do.

Online cancellation shall be permitted up to 24 hours before scheduled departure of train with a cancellation charge of 50 per cent of fare.